Philipines Typhoon May Have Killed Over 1,200
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons to ever make landfall, struck the Philippines on Friday. Early estimates by the Red Cross place the death toll at 1,200 or more.
The New York Times notes that meteorologists reported Haiyan had sustained winds of over 190 miles per hour (305 kilometers per hour) when it made landfall.
Secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross Gwendolyn Pang said Saturday that "an estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams. In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing." The two locations are in coastal areas where Haiyan first hit.
CNN says experts predict it will take days to get a precise account of the havoc the typhoon has left in its wake, as there is still information to gather from remote areas. As of Saturday evening the official government toll is a mere 138 dead, 14 injured and four missing.
The storm's circumference covered the entire country, the Chicago Tribune reports, and on late Saturday it was heading for Vietnam. The storm affected 4.3 million people in 36 provinces.
800,000 people were evacuated, and by Saturday more than 330,000 people were still in 1,223 evacuation centers according to CNN.
Testimony and video from the Philippines shows enormous wreckage to buildings and cars, aside from the toll in human lives.
"We estimate 1,000 people were killed in Tacloban and 200 in Samar province," Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, said of two coastal areas where Haiyan hit first as it began its march Friday across the archipelago.
The Red Cross said it would have more precise numbers Sunday.
The government's official toll as of Saturday evening was 138 dead, 14 injured and four missing.
But experts predicted that it will take days to get the full scope of the damage wrought by a typhoon described as one of the strongest to make landfall in recorded history.
"Probably the casualty figure will increase as we get more information from remote areas, which have been cut off from communications," said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF's Philippines representative.
The casualties from the storm, which affected 4.3 million people in 36 provinces, occurred despite preparations that included the evacuation of more than 800,000 people, he said.
On Saturday, more than 330,000 people were still in 1,223 evacuation centers, and the government had accepted a U.N. offer of international aid.
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council said more than 70,000 families were affected, and nearly 350,000 people were displaced -- inside and outside evacuation centers. Thousands of houses were destroyed, it said.